Monday, February 29, 2016

About formal dances



Do you ever attend this party where the preparation for that particular party was actually more fun than the party itself? That is what happened to me when I had this formal dance with my fellow psychology students (I brought Mitchell so I had a reason to make him wear a suit). I have always liked formal dances because you can dress up pretty, and I like how everyone looks so beautiful in their formal dresses, not to mention men in suits (I guess that alone would be a perfectly good reason to attend formal dances). This dance I think was, unfortunately, not so much fun. I'm not gonna lie about it, we thought it was straight-up boring, and also terribly awkward. This is why we decided to leave early (not as early as I intended to, but Mitchell made me stay just a few minutes longer in case the party would suddenly become legendary). But I'll never regret going because at least now I know for sure there was nothing to miss out on.

Ever since 7th grade I had a formal dance every single year, but each time it felt special to me. It was so different from all the other school dances we had. It was like Christmas time, a moment to look forward to. I remember at my first formal dance - ignorant as I was as a 13-year-old - I was wearing a metallic green dress from H&M, and, as it turned out, I wasn't the only girl. Two more girls were wearing the exact same dress. Bummer. I decided that would not happen to me next time. So in 8th grade, I picked out this tightly fitting red dress with textile roses all over the vertical mid line, and I got my hair done at a hairdresser instead of attacking it myself with my flat iron. I guess my mission was completed: I won a prize for Best Dressed girl that evening. Proudly I wore that toy-crown on my head.

Even though there were many formal dances during my time in high school, there will always be this one that I will remember for a life time. In 11th grade, junior year, I was an exchange student in a Texan high school, and you may know from the movies or reality soaps that they have this huge formal dance at the end of 12th grade: prom. It basically means that girls get to talk about dresses, hairdo's, shoes and corsages for months in advance, while guys need to worry about how to ask that particular girl to go to prom with him. Again, these preparations may have been more fun than the dance itself. I mean, this was a party for 18 years old who weren't allowed to drink alcohol as yet, so I guess it was as fun as an alcohol free party can get (I'm definitely not supporting drunkness as I'm not a big drinker myself, but you get what I mean). Still, this formal dance was memorable. I got to wear an incredibly over-expensive dress, pretty cute but not-so-high heels (my date was short), and I got my hair done very beautifully (although all the curls were gone by the time I got at the dance). I had decided to do my make up myself this time, as last time I got it done by the hairdresser (for my first American formal dance, Winter Formal), and the woman totally messed up on my face and I had to clean off the orange stuff off and redo it in the 5 minutes before my date rang the door bell. Thankfully my cousin made me a personal homemade make up tutorial which I watched very carefully and so I got to attend my prom without looking like a freaking carrot.

Tomorrow there will be another formal dance (a first years formal at my sorority/fraternity this time) and now that I get 3 different dances in one single year, I am not so concerned about my looks anymore. I actually try to avoid buying a brand new dress as I'm broke most of the time. Thank god I've got a sister who has invested in a whole collection of formal dresses, so I get plenty to choose from. At least I know formal tomorrow will be far from boring as I'm with my year club, a.k.a. the funnest people on earth to hang out with! Xoxo

Friday, February 26, 2016

HOTSPOT 512



Hi readers! It has been a busy week to me, when I had some Hungarian students visiting us for the exchange. As you could read in my posts on my exchange trip to Budapest (part 1, part 2, part 3), after we had been to Budapest in November, the Hungarians came to Nijmegen this week. It was a fun week doing a lot of fun stuff. What else I've been up to? Mitchell and I went to Wellness resort Elysium in Rotterdam, and we both loved it so much that we said to each other that we should do that way more often! After spending a day at the wellness resort, I felt completely relaxed. Also since this week, I am now owner of an eczema spot in my neck that looks exactly like a hickey. Isn't that great.

A while ago, me, Janne and Lies went to 512 in Nijmegen, a concept store where you can also sit down and enjoy a cup of tea, and most importantly: a stroopwafel. Not  a regular stroopwafel (which is, for non-Dutch readers, a cookie with caramel syrup in between) but something very special that might sound gross at first, but I can assure you, IT'S FREAKING DELICIOUS! Besides caramel, there's also something else in between. Like garlic and onions. Or bounty chocolate or sour candy. Or fennel (which was mine). Or olives. Or lime, salt or chili. Anything, really. It was so good! Such a simple, but great idea.

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Monday, February 22, 2016

Dinner with a Syrian family



This week we had very special guests for dinner. A few weeks ago, I had signed up for the welcome dinner project, where inhabitants of Nijmegen could have dinner together with people who currently stay at refugee camp Heumensoord. We got matched with this lovely family in the picture above. They have adorable two-years-old twins who we surprised with a box full of toys, which they accepted eagerly and which they went on playing with for the rest of the evening.

Mitchell and I picked them up at the camp to take them to Mitchell's place, where we prepared them dinner, and whereby Mitchell's housemate Lars was of great help. I choose to prepare them both rice and potatoes, a salad, some raw vegetables, and fish, as the meat had to be halal (prepared as prescribed by muslim law) and we were told that fish is always halal.

Even though communication was difficult because the family only knew a little bit English and a little bit Dutch, we got quite far by using Google translate :-) This way we got to learn some more about the family, as well as some Syrian words! So we ended up having a lovely evening, one that I will never forget.

As we took them back to the camp after dessert, we sang "head, shoulders, knees and toes" in the car with the kids, and I was very much hoping we could do something to get them out of that camp. Refugees have demonstrated against the camp as they view it as inhumane, with no privacy, too many people in one room, and diseases spreading like the plague. Unfortunately we do not know what we could do, neither how, except for having dinner with them that evening.

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Valentine's dinner @ De Gelagkamer



I don't care what time it is, I'm so happy to be able to post on my blog again! Due to some deficits in my computer I wasn't able to put much up here in the last few days, but oh well... I actually stuck quite long to the "one post every other day" thing, but I guess I'll have to put that to a hold right now as I'm drowning in the big pile of work I still need to do! It's depressing but I guess it's worth it, as I had a couple of wonderful days in the city Copenhagen last week! Although our fingers froze off as we walked its streets, we still enjoyed this beautiful quiet city and especially its cute coffee bars where we could warm up a little before getting back to the icey cold outside.

When I came home Sunday morning - V-day - Mitchell surprised me with some flowers and a piece of pie, as is shown in the pictures below.
That night we had dinner at De Gelagkamer in Nijmegen and we actually liked it a lot. We thought it is nice that the tables are quite distanced from each other, which makes it feel as if you are having a private dinner! We picked the restaurant because I had heard from a friend they have a discount for students, and the dishes on their menu looked exceptionally delicious. It didn't disappoint us at all and we had a really nice and delicious V-day dinner. Although the restaurant is simple, it is pretty much all you hope for: it is small, it looks nice, the food is good, there's plenty of choice, not crowded or busy, and service is nice as well. A place I would go back to! I would certainly recommend it to you, and I might even recommend it to my dad (who is very critical when it comes to restaurants and he's the person who taught me about all that is necessary for a nice place to eat - ambiance is very important! but also food quality, service and hospitality) Certainly one of the better restaurants at De Waalkade. :-)



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Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Valentine's brunch-spiration



Love goes through the stomach - at least that's what they say. As far as I know, your nose has a more important role in love business than your intestinal tract - still, there's no reason to celebrate the Day of Love without food (as food seems to be involved in any festive day). I'm not exactly a big Valentine's Day fan, although I like to grab every chance to have a little celebration. Oh and you might have noticed that it is not yet Valentine's Day... I thought I would put this post up before Valentine's Day so you could get a little inspiration to surprise your lover.

I like to have my tiny table decorated in a pretty way. I like putting up my pretty tableware, which I like to collect from all over the world (although this post only features my handmade egg holders from Morocco, rest is from the thrift shop). I like to put everything in nice bowls and on pretty plates instead of putting up the package it came in. I really think that a good looking table contributes to a meal that's more fun and maybe also tastes better. As I'm not really into baking and cooking (I mean I like to do it, but I'm not the type of person to come up with self made up recipes or anything - at least not any recipes that are worth to be repeated here - and also I do mess up the food once in a while) so I just got all the food ready-to-eat (it was delicious).

For Valentine's Day I like to have a lot of sweet food, a lot of sugar and cake and chocolate and stuff, and also a lot of pink and red colored food (which would be typical for V-Day - when it comes to traditions I get very traditional myself and like to keep everything as traditionally as possible). I also sprinkled some heart shaped sprinkles everywhere, by means of a final touch.

How are you going to spend this V-Day?

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Carnival



First of all: I GOT MY NEW PHONE. A wonderful beautiful amazing new iPhone 6s in silver and with 64GB memory capacity. No more iPhone 5c. No more bad quality pictures. No more lack of memory capacity for all my picture taking. No more scarcity of available apps. No more!!! I'm so happy, you don't even know. As I use my phone for a lot more than Facebook (it also contains to me important notes and information) I had a hard time with a phone that was not meeting my needs at all. My life will be so much easier now I own a phone that is much more capable of being a decent cell phone!

As you might have noticed, I already got to take a lot of selfies with my new phone when I celebrated Carnival past week. I remember that I rather hated Carnival as a kid, but it only gets more fun the older you get. In elementary school I just didn't get the fun of it. They threw Carnival parties at the school, where you were supposed to dance (they liked to use the Dutch word hossen to describe this specific kind of dancing at Carnival, which included the hated-by-me so-called polonaise) to the music, dressed up in weird costumes - actually the exact thing that we now do for Carnival, but at that age I thought it was lame. Now there's alcohol involved the lame stuff people do for Carnival doesn't seem to be so lame at all.
My boyfriend Mitchell happens to be a pretty diehard Carnival freak (probably not as much as the Carnival freaks from the very south, as we live more in the middle of the country, close the the northern part where Carnival is hardly celebrated) and he is involved in a carnival association with his friends (this means they build a carnival float and do parades on it), so of course I had to come along at least one day. Their theme (just like last year's) included a lot of little hearts and red costumes with white hearts on it, as visible in the first picture on top of this post.

On the first day of Carnival, I didn't join him at the parade at first, but surprised him by showing up at the parade after telling him I wouldn't be able to come and watch him that day. Just seeing his face light up and show a happy smile when he suddenly sees me standing in the crowd, is enough proof that my spontaneity is appreciated. I joined him on their carnival float for the rest of the parade. This is when the first few pictures in this article were taken.

The following day I actually dressed up myself (shoutout to Eva for letting me borrow her heart themed dress) and came along for the entire day and night, as they were having two different parades that day, the first in my hometown Nijmegen, the second in a small village, where a parade of lights took place. Doing a parade is pretty much dancing, drinking and jumping on the float to Carnival music (the worst kind of music you can imagine, though it is alright when it is only heard once a year during Carnival) and walking next to the float to dance in the streets. A lot of people come to watch the parade, especially kids who hope to receive some candy from the people on the floats. It was a really fun day although it got me really tired in the end.

On Monday the parade got cancelled because of the threatening weather that was forecasted for that day. I didn't plan on going anyways, but I know Mitchell felt bad because his Carnival days got to an end unexpectedly.

On the last day, me and my year club went to attend the Cuijk pub crawl, which traditionally takes place on the last day of Carnival. The bad thing: it rained all day, leaving us soaking wet and cold. Last year, when the weather was a lot better, it was amazingly crowded outside, while the pubs were left abandoned. This year it was the other way around. Everyone wanted to be inside, away from the rain. As we were rained wet already, we didn't really mind being outside anymore. This band - Baby Blue - was performing at one of the stages, and we thought they were performing so good! So even though the weather sucked that day, we had a lot of fun in Cuijk. I hope next year though we will have a bit more sunshine and a bit less rain.

Now Carnival is over, the next fun thing is already coming up: tonight I'm leaving for my trip to Copenhagen! It's a trip with other psychology students, and among them my friend Lieke who is also in my year club. I'm really excited about this trip and I can't wait to see Copenhagen! Have you ever been to Copenhagen? Any tips are very welcome!

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Monday, February 8, 2016

Club Instant @ Budapest



SOMETHING THAT I really liked about Budapest as well, was its night life. After being at several pubs throughout the week, this one night we went to this why-don't-we-have-something-like-this-in-Holland kinda club, called Club Instant. Just like the ruin pub I wrote about before, this club is located in an old apartment complex, which was turned into a wonderful night club. There are several rooms with all its own sort of music, but we mainly stayed at this one room where the DJ was playing more popular songs (but unlike here in Holland, they did finish an entire song before skipping to the next - although the skipping was a lot smoother). As I brought my camera I tried taking some pictures while standing in the middle of the dancing crowd, just to see what it would turn out like. And here's the result. I actually like it a lot. They are a bit blurry but I guess that is exactly what a regular night out would look like through the eyes of someone who already had a couple of drinks. :-)



As I told you before in this article, I like colored lights in pictures, as I think it creates an enchanting atmosphere (this is also clear in this article).

Oh, how much I LOVE Budapest!... What an amazing city that is.
As you might know (I wrote about it here, here and here), I had an exchange with Hungarian psychology students in November, and this means that THEY will be visiting us as well in Nijmegen - in two weeks already! I can't wait for them to be here so we can show them around :-)
I think it's a really fun thing to do, being a tourist in your own country, seeing your own country through the eyes of foreigners. Hope they'll like it down here - even though I love my hometown, I'm sure it's not half as impressive as Budapest is...
What fun, typically Dutch things would be fun to share with the Hungarians?

If you liked this article, you might also like this article that I wrote about nightlife in my hometown Nijmegen --> click here to read it :-)

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